Tag Archives: reading

And the Winner Is

Congratulations to the winner of an e-copy of Whirlwind:

jablefield

Thank you to everyone who commented during the Romance Girls Gone Goblin hop. Stay tuned for more giveaways. We’ve got a big one coming up very soon, so subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss out!

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A Treat for Halloween: An Outtake

Today is your last chance to enter to win an e-copy of my romantic suspense, Whirlwind. All you have to do is leave a comment on any of my posts from 10/28-10/31 and you’re entered! Whether you win or not, here’s a little treat – a little outtake/prequel of the story. And don’t forget to check out the other authors and giveaways on the Romance Girls Gone Goblin Halloween Hop.

Click HERE for a peek at the blurb on the back of the book.

What’s your favorite Halloween story? Do you like spooky or silly?

An Outtake from Whirlwind

Email email email

Image by RambergMediaImages via Flickr

This outtake takes place the Halloween before main characters Melissa Williams and Jason McAlister meet in person. Melissa and Jason got to know each other online first. After a couple formal emails, they fell into a comfortable, if not lewd, conversation.

Here’s Jason’s side of the conversation regarding Halloween.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

I checked my watch. We’d been studying for a couple hours. While I enjoyed organic chemistry, I’d had enough.

“I think I’m done,” I announced and closed my book. “You?”

At the desk next to me, my study partner, Greg Lawson, slowly turned toward me. His slate gray eyes didn’t stray from the page in front of him until the last second. “Damn, you’re fast, Jason. I have one more chapter. Just a few more minutes.”

“No problem.” I stretched. My arms were tight—it’d been a couple days since I’d had a chance to swim. Tomorrow, I promised myself. I should be able to fit in some laps between class and the party.

Making sure Greg had gone back to reading, I pushed my book away and opened my laptop. I had email. A thrill made my fingers tingle…and a guilty twinge settled in my gut.

It’s just email. It’s not like you’re cheating. Besides, it might not even be her.

It’d been a while since I’d heard from Melissa. Her midterms had to coming up—just like mine were—and I figured she must be busy. My email buddy for almost a month, Melissa Williams had kept me in stitches with her naughty humor. If she weren’t two thousand miles away in California, I’d be in big trouble.

Greg flipped a page, causing me to jump. I should’ve closed the laptop, but instead I angled it away from him. The last thing I needed was for him to find out about Melissa.

I clicked on the email icon. Two new messages had arrived, one from my brother, Mitch, and the other from Melissa. Her subject line made me snicker: Dress Up

“I can’t get through this if you’re laughing. Take it in the other room,” Greg said.

“I’ll shut up.” I pressed my lips together. My girlfriend was in the next room, so that was out of the question.

I repeated the mantra I’d adopted when our conversation had gone from business to social. This girl, Melissa, was nothing to me. Just a screen full of words. I’d never seen her, never would see her. And yet, those words—her light, witty, laughing words—were the highlight of my day. But if my girlfriend found out, I’d have to stop. All fun aside, I wouldn’t risk my relationship with her, no matter how much I liked my phantom Melissa.

But that didn’t mean I had to give her up just yet. Skipping Mitch, I clicked on Melissa’s name.

This email, like most from her, started without a salutation.

Sooooo, are you looking forward to playing dress up tomorrow?

I quickly covered my snort with a cough.

It’s taken me a while to come up with a good Halloween costume this year. But I think I’ve got it now. It’s a little dirty, so I don’t know if I should show it to you.

Do you have plans for Halloween, or is it too cold in Michigan to go Trick-or-Treating?

The thought of finally seeing Melissa sent all kinds of conflicting feelings through me. I wondered for the tenth time if she had a boyfriend. Was she hiding my emails just like I was hiding hers? Something in me said no. She was best friends with my brother, and he hadn’t said anything about her dating. He hadn’t said anything about her at all since he found out I was talking to her. Selfish bastard.

I hit REPLY.

Dirty, huh? I paused. Melissa loved words, which probably meant she wasn’t going as a French maid. I’d be happy to clean you up. You’d like my costume. It’s got a sports theme, sort of. Your favorite—hockey. The worn goalie mask I’d used for a costume for the past three years hung on the wall above me. The Halloween movies had made my holidays easy. Mitch had always teased me that going as myself was cheating.

Without thinking, I continued typing.

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

We’d never talked about sharing photos before. Something inside me told me it was a bad idea, not because seeing Melissa would ruin her mystique, but because it might do just the opposite.

I erased the last line.

Unlike the kids, I don’t have to brave the cold for candy. We’re having a party here. It’ll be nice and warm.

I thought about attaching photo of my costume, but decided that was just another way to invite her to send a picture. Instead I pressed SEND.

Greg slammed his book shut. “Finally. I wish I had your memory. You’ve got it so easy.”

I closed my laptop. “Not as easy as you think.”

* * *

Two days later, I was convinced Melissa was gone. She hadn’t replied to my last email, and since Mitch was knee-deep in midterms, I assumed she was too. I knew it was for the better, but I missed her sexy teases.

I wished I had something like midterms to distract me, but they were another week away. I still checked my inbox way too many times a day. This afternoon I was in class, trying to take notes, but kept my eye the corner of the screen, watching for the NEW MAIL icon to appear.

When it did, I switched windows. Next to me, Greg continued to type. I’d get the notes from him later.

Unfortunately—or not?—the message was from Mitch.

Look, I went as you this year.

Beneath the words was a photo of about fifteen people. In the center stood Mitch, hands on hips and red cape billowing. Across his bright blue chest were the letters SA.

The caption had been added by someone else. It was a list of names, including “Smart-Ass-Man Mitch.” The bastard. But it was another name that caught my eye.

Tight-End Melissa

I scanned the photo again. On the left was a girl with pompoms and long dark hair, but after counting the names, I realized she was Beth somebody. Next to her was someone in a mud-covered green football uniform, complete with shoulder pads and helmet. Melissa.

“It’s a little dirty,” she’d said.

I tried to zoom in on the helmet, to get a glimpse of the girl inside, but only got blurry gray squares.

It’s for the best. You know what you need to do.

I clicked DELETE, and the photo disappeared.

“Happy Halloween, Melissa,” I whispered. “Goodbye.”

Don’t worry, Jason and Melissa get together in a big way in Whirlwind. And if you’ve already read the book, you’ll be seeing more of Jason, Melissa, Mitch, and even Greg in book 2, tentatively titled Quicksand, coming next year, I hope.

Happy Halloween, and Happy Monday!

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Filed under excerpt, giveaway, Holidays

Magazines – Remember Those?

Indonesian magazines at a kiosk in Jakarta.

Image via Wikipedia

In the new age of e-readers and apps for everything, I’m wondering what’s happening with magazines. Me? I don’t read many. Besides trade magazines, I only flip through Better Homes & Gardens. My hubby tends toward techie stuff (Wired is fun), and my kids read National Geographic (yes, they really do). So even though I don’t read many, when it came time for my son’s annual magazine drive, we had no problem filling up his list with renewals.

How about you? What magazines do you read? What do you pick up at the doctor’s office? Do you read paper magazines or do you read online?

Or are you done with magazines?

Author! Author! Blog Bounce

Click here to check out the Blog Bounce

What’s the Author! Author! Blog Bounce?? Well, it’s a fun way for readers to find new authors and for authors to connect with their readers!

Authors, all you have to do is click on the link, grab the icon, grab the link, make a blog post (don’t forget to include the link!), and enter your blog on our list. Easy peasy!

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Instant Feedback

Not really.

Image via Wikipedia

As a continuation of my kindle saga, I bring to you Amazon’s newest feature: @author. Billed as a way to connect readers and writers, it allows kindle readers to message the author from within the book. Neat, huh?

I know some authors see it as more work, and at first, I couldn’t see that it’s really that different from someone tweeting or emailing a question to me while reading. But after looking at Amazon’s description of this new tool, I can see how it could have its drawbacks, from my point of view:

Posting a question from the Kindle:
1. Place the cursor at the beginning of the passage you’d like to ask a question about using the 5-way controller, then press down to anchor it
2. Highlight the passage using the 5-way controller
3. Enter your question about the passage you highlighted, beginning with the phrase “@author”…
4. Select “save & share” from the options at the bottom of the note window when finished

So the reader can highlight an excerpt while reading and ask about it (and everyone will see it). Um, can you say “spoiler”?

My first reaction is to wonder who would use this. I have read books where I really wondered where the author was going, or if they’d ever get around to closing a loop they started early on – but I wouldn’t stop reading to ask them. If I really wanted to know, I’d just skip ahead. The answer should be in the book in my hands, right? All I have to do is read it.

If I do have a question for the author, there’s usually umpty-seven ways to reach them – if they want to be reached. But right in the middle of a book? I don’t know.

What do you think? This feature is still in the testing phase, and hasn’t really been touted by Amazon (yet?). Would you stop in the middle of a story to send the author a message about the story? Do you see another benefit to this feature as readers or writers that I’m missing? Or is this just a different version of twitter/facebook/forum?

Meet an Author Monday

Check out what other authors are chatting about today. Whether you’re a reader or a writer, there’s a lot of great stories out there!

Meet an Author Monday

Click here for the Author hop

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Kindle Goes to School

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader

This probably won’t be a surprise to many, but I love my kindle. I still read “real” books, but I love the convenience and selection I get on my ereader. It’s so great that I even loaded my high-school-age daughter’s summer reading books on it – the classics, like Dante’s Inferno, were free!

What I didn’t take into account was that when school started, she’d need to take her summer reading books to school.

Now, I trust my daughter. I warned her not to drop her backpack with the kindle in it, and keep it under wraps – I didn’t want prying eyes and sticky fingers to get any ideas. “YES MOM!” was her answer. But my main concern was her teacher. What if he took it? (Okay, I’m a little paranoid, but as I said, I LOVE my kindle!)

You see, the high school has strict rules about many things. No drugs. No weapons. No suggestive clothing. AND…no electronics. I knew the intention of the rule was to keep kids from playing video games or listening to their iPods during class, but would the school be discriminating enough to know the difference between an MP3 player and an electronic book? Luckily, the answer was yes.

In fact, the instructor’s response was “I was wondering when these would start showing up.” Another student also had her kindle in class, and everything was fine.

Now I’m left with a different dilemma. I know a kindle (or nook) is in both my kids’ futures. They’re avid readers, and would definitely use them. I’d also like to think their rooms might be a little cleaner without the piles of books everywhere (yeah, right). It’s just a matter of time.

My question to you today is, how do you manage a child’s ereader? Do they have their own amazon/B&N account, or do you connect them to yours? I wish amazon had a way to lock individual books or collections with a password – then I wouldn’t have to worry about my kids picking up my kindle and reading one of the hot romance novels I have on it.

If you have a nook, I’d like to hear from you, too. The library lending feature is something I think would be great for kids.

And, just so you know, Christmas is only 108 days away.

Author! Author! Blog Bounce

Click here to check out the Blog Bounce

What’s the Author! Author! Blog Bounce?? Well, it’s a fun way for readers to find new authors and for authors to connect with their readers!

Authors, all you have to do is grab the icon, grab the link, make a blog post (don’t forget to include the link!), and enter your blog on our list. Easy peasy!

Readers…you have the easy job. Just follow the bounce and visit the authors. Leave a comment and let them know that you were there.

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Filed under Parenting, Reading